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Disclosure sought in sex trade case

A lawyer representing a Chinese immigrant who allegedly worked as a prostitute from her home in Bullhead City is demanding information about federal agents who purportedly paid his client and others for sex acts. Lake Havasu city-based defense attorney Brad Rideout on Monday filed his motion seeking additional disclosure so he can prepare for the trial of his client Yuqin Shu, 57.

Shu is not charged with prostitution, but rather with money laundering for allegedly forwarding proceeds to others involved in an organization suspected of using women of Asian descent in massage parlor environments in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu. In his motion Rideout said federal authorities have disclosed that agents identified as “Arturo” and “Sergio” paid women for sex acts through an investigation dubbed “Operation Human Touch.”

Rideout said he is entitled to disclosure beyond what is noted in a probable cause statement.

“The affidavit used to obtain a warrant for Ms. Shu’s home-based business stated that ‘an undercover agent with the Homeland Security Investigation team’ entered Ms. Shu’s home on May 15, 2018, June 21, 2018 and September 17, 2018 and paid Ms. Shu to perform sexual acts for him,” the motion said. “As a result of the investigation, Ms. Shu was arrested.”

Rideout’s motion said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became involved in the investigation after police departments initiated the probe in the Colorado River communities. Rideout asserts that DHS was established to work with support agencies such as ICE and the U.S. Secret Service to protect the nation after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.

“It is unclear how an ICE officer having sexual relations with human trafficking victims in Mohave County, Arizona protects the nation from terrorist attacks or secures the borders,” the disclosure motion said. “The departmental reports from, and an interview with, Sergio and Arturo may shed light on this connection.”

Rideout is asking for the full names of the undercover agents, identification of agencies to which they’re assigned and their investigative reports. Deputy Mohave County attorney Kellen Marlow said he will respond in form of motion he’ll submit to the Honorable Judge Billy Sipe.